Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jaime Jones Digital Painting Workshop 7-21-12

So Jaime Jones is friggen dope. In July, I took a one day workshop with Jaime at Concept Design Academy. He is one of those examples that prove that you don't have to go to Art Center to be dope. You can be mostly self-taught as well and still be badass.  To tell a little about Jaime, he grew up in the midwest or something and used to do a lot of oil paintings of barns and enter state fair art competitions when he was as kid.  You can see influences of Scott Christensen, Edgar Payne, turn of the century american illustrators like Howard Pyle and Cornell in his work. Therefore, his concept art stuff has a very traditional feel.

What surprised me was how slow and carefully he paints. He really takes his time. He works in minimal layers and flattens constantly. He would duplicate a layer and work on it for about 15 minutes. If it didn't look better than the original, he would scrap it. Every stroke should be working to make the painting better. Kind of like what I was saying about Yohann in my other post, if you are painting something and you are almost finished and it's still not feeling right, fucking scrap it and repaint. He feels more fresh that day. I quote Jaime and Jaime is quoting Sargent! Listen up!

Art Theory and Technique
He talks how tradition painting concepts such as
- have appealing mases of dark/light.
- have your lay in kill from 100 yrds in 30 min work.
- have half tones work. then do darkest darks and lightest lights.
- have big medium and small in an obvious way.
- have micro-compositions. have everything work when you zoom in.

He says that these concepts are simple, but juggling them all at once is difficult. 
Painting is a "pile of easy concepts that are difficult when you deal with them in concert."

Painting versus the Picture: "The operation was successful, but the patient died." 

A tricky thing he talks about is to avoid "caring too much about the painting, but not about the picture."
What it means to me is.. "painting" is the technique side, and the "picture" is the overall read and emotional impact.

Jaime likens the process to the saying "the operation was successful, but the patient died." No one will care about the technology and technique if you failed to accomplish your goal.

Concept art vs illustration. 
One thing I had Jaime help me clarify is that illustration and concept art are different. In illustration you want a cool composition, chiarscuro, and sharp and blurry edges etc... In concept art, the drawing and painting needs to be really legible and clear. And sometimes you sacrifice the illustration to have a clear concept piece. Yeah.. I was a little confused when the principles of illustration and art contradict what is needed in industry work.

Outside Interest

Lastly, Jaime advocates having some kind of outside interest to help inform your concept art. Otherwise, the artists look all "inbred." Having an outside interests ensures that the results are a little bit more unique to you. So go out and have fun! Don't just draw all day! Jaime Jones says so! lol


See? He practically repainted the entire lizard on the last step. He doesn't give a fuck that he already spent 5 hours on it. He does what he needs to do to make it look right. 


  1. Thanks for posting, did Jaime use or talk about reference at all?

    1. lol- this was from 10 years ago. No he didn't mention his practice regimen. All I saw was that he painted VERY slowly. one of the slowest demos I've seen.

  2. yeah he used reference for the sketch. he had pictures for the lizards but changed them to suit the composition. it's important to spend a lot of time gathering reference...

  3. Cool thanks for the reply, did he talk about hard/soft edges?

    1. No he didn't really talk about hard/soft edges. He talked more about the "surface" of the painting. As you can see - he works mainly in one layer. So he was more about the calligraphy and the surface of the stroke itself. I'm sure he does pay attention to hard/soft edges though.

  4. Thanks for posting! As a huge Jaime Jones fan I found this info enormously interesting.

    I realise you posted this in august, so it has been couple of months, but
    I was wondering if you could elaborate on few things.

    What did Jaime mean by micro-compositions?

    Did he go to any detail on what shapes/masses look appealing? Any dos and dont's there?

    Thanks again!

    1. Hey man - sorry for the late reply. Microcomposition is like when you zoom in a painting, and there is another composition there. it's like a composition within a composition.

      Jaime didn't talk about which shapes/masses look appealing, but i think you can get a sense of what that means when you paint traditionally and the shape that the paintbrush creates is something nice.

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    1. No sorry I don't know about his brush settings. For the underpainting, I think there's a possibility he used an actual photo of an underpainting of an oil painting. He has a strong background in traditional mediums.

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